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Have You Played... Zeno Clash?

First-person face-punching

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Bam! Bif! Pow! Thump! Ooh! Aah! Eee! Coo! 'Eck! Thud!

Those are the sounds of Zeno Clash [official site], a gorgeous first-person beat 'em up from ACE Team.

Zeno Clash is a fairly straightforward beat 'em up, with kicks and punches in a few simple combos, along with blocks, dodging, counter-attacks and whatnot. Sprinkle some kinda sorta useful guns over the top and a few powerful but breakable melee weapons and... look, it's fun. Zeno Clash is fun with the face-punching (and kicking, and hammersmashing etc.) but its main impact on me has been ruining most other fantasy settings.

As has apparently been a hallmark of ACE Team's, Zeno Clash looks like nothing I'd played before. Zenozoik is a fantasy world in the sense that it's made of wild dreams, rather than having elves and chainmail. I never knew what I'd see (or punch) next. A chap who wears a cauldron over his head and is driven to forever walk forwards no matter what? Sure. A blind assassin wearing a crab as a mask, who'll attack me by strapping bombs to squirrels? Yeah, okay. A swamp land populated by sculpturemen of shrieking metal, a beached whale with a serrated face, four-breasted vole women, hulking slothmen... it is a game of many strange and pleasant surprises.

Zeno Clash traipses across a wild world to tell, ultimately, a small personal story about a man, his parent Father-Mother, and their family. It's small, tidy, and personal - I dig it. Yeah, the dialogue and voice acting are a bit odd but... what isn't in Zeno Clash?

Seriously though, everyone else: enough with the European castles and chainmail.

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Zeno Clash


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About the Author
Alice O'Connor avatar

Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.